What’s a maritime vessel allision?

While the terms collision and allision are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not the same. In a collision, one vessel strikes another ship, while an allision occurs when a vessel hits a stationary object, such as a dock, bridge, oil platform, or drilling rig.

An allision has the potential to injure crew members severely and result in serious damage to the vessel.

Typical Allision Causes

While there are many reasons for allisions, some of the most common include:

  • Mechanical defects, such as failure of the vessel’s steering or guidance systems
  • An improperly-trained crew
  • Crew member intoxication
  • Failure to establish proper protocols for the berthing of the vessel
  • Crew member negligence

Determining Fault in an Allision Accident

Most bridges are struck at least once by vessels passing beneath them. Typically, the ship operator is presumed to be at fault when colliding with a stationary object. Liability for these allision accidents is determined by several unique rules, including:

  • The Oregon Rule. The Supreme Court decided The Oregon Case in 1895, finding that when a moving vessel collides with a stationary object, the ship is presumed to be at fault. To defeat this presumption, the vessel’s operator must show that he acted with reasonable care, or that the stationary object caused the collision.
  • The Pennsylvania Rule. Like automobile accidents, the principle of comparative fault also governs maritime collisions. Under this rule, the plaintiff is barred from financial recovery when they’re guilty of a violation that may have caused the collision. The plaintiff must demonstrate their violation couldn’t have led to the damages and injuries they sustained.
  • The Louisiana Rule. This rule maintains that a drifting vessel which breaks free from its moorings and strikes a stationary object is presumed to be at fault for any damage it causes.

You Need an Attorney

If you were injured due to an allision while working aboard a maritime vessel, you’re entitled to compensation for medical care and loss of income under the Jones Act.

You need an experienced maritime injury attorney who’s prepared to fight on your behalf and ensure you receive the damages you deserve. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.

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